JEM Leasing has called for a criminal investigation into claims by Arik Air (W3, Lagos) that it was removing its sole CRJ1000 from its fleet because the lessor and financier decided to sell the aircraft, which would be disassembled by an unnamed buyer.

"The attention of the management of JEM Leasing Limited, owners of the CRJ1000 registered as 5N-JEE (msn 19037) has been drawn to the publication purporting a decision by JEM Leasing to sell and/or tear down the aircraft. For the record, Arik Air is the launch customer and only operator of the CRJ1000 in Africa. JEM Leasing is not party to any arrangement with Arik Air (in receivership) for the teardown of the aircraft. The position of the Cape Town Convention and the law of every jurisdiction is clear and incontrovertible regarding aircraft repossession and teardown. JEM Leasing dissociates itself from the purported decision and arrangements regarding the sale and teardown of this new generation CRJ1000 aircraft in its entirety and urges the criminal investigative authorities of Nigeria to promptly investigate this asset destruction act and the claims of Arik Air (in receivership) with regards to this false claim," the statement read as reported by multiple Nigerian media outlets.

This followed an earlier statement released by Arik Air saying the withdrawal of the aircraft was because JEM Leasing and financier Export Development Canada had decided to sell the aircraft. "We equally wish to notify of the decision of the buyer to tear down the plane. Arik Air, as the lessee since 2014, operated the aircraft pursuant to a lease agreement with JEM Leasing Limited. Arik discontinued operations of the CRJ fleet in 2019.

"Arik Air would like to assure all stakeholders, including passengers, partners, and the general public, that the decision by the owner and financier of the aircraft will not impact Arik's operations or compromise its commitment to providing safe, reliable, and convenient air travel services," the company stated.

According to the ch-aviation fleets, the 9.61-year-old 5N-JEE is stored at Lagos.

Arik Air also has three CRJ900s, also stored at Lagos. The rest of the fleet comprises five B737-700s, three B737-800s, and three DHC-8-Q400s. Only five aircraft are in active service, including one B737-700 5N-MJF (msn 34762) which is active but awaiting a new engine; one B737-800 5N-MJQ (msn 38971); and three Dash-8 Q400s: 5N-BKU (msn 4207) which is active but in the hangar awaiting C-check maintenance; 5N-BKW (msn 4465); and 5N-BKX (msn 4470), according to sources close to the airline.